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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League of America #31

Justice League of America #31

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 25, 2009

Cover date: May 2009

"Welcome to Sundown Town" - Interlude: "Crisis of Confidence"

Writter: Dwayne McDuffie
Penciller: Shane Davis
Inker: Sandra Hope

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Black Canary talks with Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Barbara Gordon, Roy Harper, the Flash, Superman and Wonder Woman and tells the remaining members that based on those separate conversations she is disbanding the Justice League.

4Story - 4: To kick things off I want to make an apology or I guess retraction would be a better way to phrase it. In my review of the last issue I wrote something to the effect that issue thirty was the last part of the "Welcome to Sundown Town" arc. I was later informed, by Dwayne McDuffie himself (Hey, Dwayne! Thanks for reading the reviews!) that this was not the case. While I wasn't the only reviewer on the web to make that mistake I still goofed and this is my mea culpa for that.

And now on to issue thirty-one.

I will admit that I was REALLY confused at the start of this issue. One of the factors of that confusion was artistic so I will deal with that in the artwork leg of this review. The second component to the "What is going on?" feeling came from why in the world was Black Canary so mad? Sure it was somewhat played for laughs but I just had no idea what was going on until we got a friendly editorial note stating that everything that happened in the first few pages was a result of the James Robinson written JUSTICE LEAGUE mini-series, which will be coming out in July.

And that annoyed me.

This is absolutely nothing against Dwayne McDuffie. He wrote a solid issue and keyed off events from the upcoming mini-series beautifully. The scene with Dinah, Hal and Ollie played out exactly as it should have. The problem is that DC announced that JUSTICE LEAGUE series months ago and I get the feeling it should have been out by now. This is pure Thursday morning editing but it seems to me that the events of this issue would have had more of an impact if that series had already come out and for that I blame the upper echelon of DC for not having their act together and somewhat leaving the writer of this title out to dry.

A little harsh? Maybe, but it just irks me that a company that has been publishing comics for seven decades isn't a little more on the ball about such things.

Beyond all of that I really enjoyed this issue. It is rare to have thoughts that have been swirling around my head for months to come out of a character's mouth. I have made no secret of the frustration I feel that this title really hasn't been a tried and true Justice League title with the exception of the first arc, the Lightning Saga and the Injustice League arc. It has been well written and I haven't given any serious thought to dropping it but at the same time thirty-one issues have gone by and I have gotten that, "Man, that is JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA right there!" only a handful of times.

In this issue, despite the fact that the League has apparently been disbanded, I got that feeling again.

I have a really good feeling about this arc and the upcoming issues of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA.

This was a very emotionally driven story and I honestly felt something for Dinah throughout the issue. From the opening scene where Dinah had to deal with her husband sneaking around behind her back (with Hal no less) to the conversation with Babs, to learning that Superman and Wonder Woman are going off regular duty, to her talk with the Flash, to her pulling an Aquaman and disbanding the League, I felt a bit drained by the end. Here's Dinah, the Black Canary, trying to pull the League back together as any good leader should and nothing seems to be going right. Dinah had a bad day and we got to see it and because of that I feel closer to the character.

There were some funny moments as well. Dinah punching Ollie made me chuckle. I also like the banter between the remaining Leaguers at the end, especially the crack about the Detroit League. I happen to like that group but can understand why people feel the way they do about that incarnation of the JLA.

In the end all signs point to good for this story arc. McDuffie's taking lemons and making lemon-aid since the big guns have been taken off the table. In my experience this is when the League gets really interesting because as cool as it is to have the big guns you can take more chances with the guys and gals that don't have their own books.

Then again maybe that's just me.

3Art - 3: A couple of things before I get into the art.

Thing number one; remember the reviews I wrote for the SUPERMAN/BATMAN issues that Shane Davis drew and I complained endlessly about the fact that he went all SUPERMAN RETURNS on the Man of Steel's look and put the symbol on the belt?

Yeah, nothing has changed there.

I loathe the symbol on the belt. I've said it before and I will say it again; putting the symbol on the belt makes the suit look like a seventies era Halloween costume. There's no point to it and it looks silly.

Thing number two; uh...did Shane mistakenly draw Wonder Woman on that first page when it should have been Dinah? I mean the woman Zatanna is talking to has dark hair and appears to be wearing a tiara. Is that supposed to be Wonder Woman? And if it isn't why does she look like Wonder Woman?

It was kind of funky.

Other than that the art was solid. Despite disliking his Superman I do like the way he draws the rest of the League, especially Green Lantern. The page layouts were dynamic and his characters were expressive. Overall a good issue art-wise with only one or two quibbles to be found.

4Cover Art - 4: This cover does a good job of telling us that the Trinity are leaving the book. It's kind of sad but at the same time they're walking off into the sunset, which usually means that they are going off to some reward. I like this cover a lot, especially the tattered Justice League flag flying in the foreground.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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